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Thread: Night Photography

  1. #1
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    Night Photography

    Hi all,

    Recently I've purchased a 6D and am loving it. I've done some live gig photography and the results were great.

    My problem though, is shooting at night. I'm using my Canon 24-105 F4 and it worked well for band photography etc but when I shoot at night I can't seem to get it right. I try using an iso of say 3200 but it ends up looking like it's almost daylight (even though it's almost 9pm)

    If I lower the iso but lower the shutter speed I get a similar result. I'm thinking part of the problem is F4, but if I get a 2.8 and shoot it at 2.8 will it really make that much of a difference?

    Does anyone have any tips or can let me know what I might be doing wrong? We have Vivid Festival starting tomorrow in Sydney Australia (a festival of lights at night time) and I want to get as many good shots as possible.

  2. #2
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    You're paying too much attention to the camera's metering (or you're in an auto or semi-auto mode). The meter attempting to make the scene "properly exposed". But at night, things aren't what your camera would consider properly exposed, they're dark, but a few bright parts.

    If you're shooting in manual, just increase the shutter speed or lower the ISO. If you're in a semi-auto mode (Av, Tv, or M with auto-ISO) apply negative exposure compensation. Perhaps try to get the exposure correct in LiveView, or using the histogram (aim to get the highlights close to the right).

    You could shoot with the settings as they are now, and attempt to darken it in DPP or Photoshop or Aperture, or whatever, but you'll end up with the highlights being wrong, as they will all be overexposed and clipped.

    You're probably best off with M mode, and finding the right setting for whatever light you're shooting.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member Jayson's Avatar
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    Night Photography

    Look up an Aussie photographer named Mike Salway. He is an astrophotographer and he gives tons of tips. He shoots a 6d also.


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  4. #4
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    Play around with exposure compensation at -2,3 etc. Get comfy with how the meter want neutral gray, even of you want black or white.
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  5. #5
    Senior Member neuroanatomist's Avatar
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    My usual settings for night scenes are f/8-13, ISO 100, and shutter speeds from 2 - 30 s. I use M mode. If shooting a light show, you may want a shorter shutter speed, e.g. when I shot the sparking light on the Eiffel Tower I found a 0.8 s shutter (bumped ISO to 400) showed the amount of sparkle I wanted, and longer exposures showed too many lights.

    Good luck, hope you post some images!

  6. #6
    Senior Member Kombi's Avatar
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    Three things can be changed in camera to affect exposure.

    Aperture,
    2,2.8,4,5.6,8,11,16,22
    ISO
    3200,1600,800,400,200,100
    Shutter speed.
    1,1/2,1/4,1/8,1/16,1/32,1/64,1/125,1/250,1/500,1/1000

    Above are common full stops. On the left of the scale allows in more light, brighter image, right less light.

    For example- If shooting f/5.6 ISO 3200 @1/125 and the scene looks to bright, you could change one of the three.
    Going to f/8 would darken by one stop, shooting at ISO 1600 would have same effect, or speeding up shutter to 1/250 would also darken the scene.

    Aperture will determine your depth of field -- So I usually try and decide that first.
    Speed of shutter will determine how much motion blur will be on your subject
    ISO-- has biggest impact on image grain (quality) higher ISO = more noise in most cases


    Switching to SPOT metering may also help a bit- metering just center of image for exposure.
    Last edited by Kombi; 05-21-2015 at 04:43 PM.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Raid's Avatar
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    In Melbourne we have the same thing only its called White Night. Have made a number of attempts to do both still and videos of this festival but they are not worth posting here. People with cell phones were taking better shots than me

    To help others understand what this is all about and what to expect, this link may help.

    http://theconversation.com/vivid-syd...ight-out-41957
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  8. #8
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    Well, I had a crack last night, shooting at 3200 ISO, 30 second shutter speed and IS on and it still turned out dark. Mind you, when shooting a lit up Ferris Wheel it looked OK. If there's a lot of light, even fluro light it seems to be OK but with lower light it doesn't work well.

    At night I always shoot at F4 to get more light in, I find if I lower the aperture it gives a much darker look and I have to lower the shutter speed dramatically which results in too much motion blur.

  9. #9
    Senior Member conropl's Avatar
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    What are you trying to shoot? Street shots with city lights, or country side / starscapes were there are no artifitial lights? The two conditions are totally different.

    Get it into manual mode, display the histogram in live view, and move your metering area (the square) around to the area you want to adjust to. Once you get it dialed in on a static subject to a shutter speed that eliminates motion blur, then note the exposure compensation when you go back to the view finder (spot or matrix). Set to auto-ISO with the exposure compensation set to your observed setting. Keep monitoring your histogram and adjust compensation as needed.

    Pat
    Last edited by conropl; 05-23-2015 at 08:37 PM.
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  10. #10
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    I'm not up on all the functions of my camera yet but I'll try that out tomorrow night, thanks

    Also, its a mix really, starscapes but mainly fluro lights around ie streetlights or festival lights etc

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